Stettler contingent ‘plays with heart’ at zone playoffs

Taylor Chase’s golden performance highlighted the Stettler results at the high school zone badminton championships Saturday in Red Deer.

Stettler twins Kayleigh (pictured) and Destiny Croker teamed up to win the bronze medal in the junior girls’ doubles division at the central Alberta zone high school badminton championships Saturday at Hunting Hills High School in Red Deer. In the third-place match

Stettler twins Kayleigh (pictured) and Destiny Croker teamed up to win the bronze medal in the junior girls’ doubles division at the central Alberta zone high school badminton championships Saturday at Hunting Hills High School in Red Deer. In the third-place match

Taylor Chase’s golden performance highlighted the Stettler results at the high school zone badminton championships Saturday in Red Deer.

Nine competitors from William E. Hay Composite High School qualified for the zone tournament at Hunting Hills.

Stettler twins Destiny and Kayleigh Croker took home the junior girls’ doubles bronze medal, complementing Chase’s gold-medal effort in the intermediate boys’ singles category.

The Croker girls won all of their three round-robin matches.

“In the playoff rounds, Kayleigh and Destiny lost a match to a focused team from Chauvin, but did find their A game to win the bronze medal against a team from Wetaskiwin,” said William E. Hay coach Chris Langford.

Along with Chase, the Wildcats’ singles competitors at the zones were juniors Alyssa Acera and Adam Pitzel.

“Adam had a slow start and would have been able to have more success had his day gone longer,” Langford said. “His fitness serves him well, but you need the early wins, too.

“Alyssa gained experience for when she will return next year.”

The Stettler field included the senior mixed doubles tandem of Naoko Miyazawa and Nicholas Baharally, and the intermediate boys’ doubles pairing of Jordan Bauman and Aeroll Acera.

“Jordan and Aeroll narrowly missed out advancing to playoffs, but had other teams worried when they were playing their best,” Langford said.

“Naoko and Nicholas almost pulled off major comeback wins. In Wainwright (at the area championships), they had been down 20-16 in a third critical match, but came back to win and earn their spot at the zones.

“At Hunting Hills, they were down 20-14 and dug deep to finish a 22-20 (decision). Unfortunately, the win was not theirs.”

First- or second-place finishes at the area competition qualified students for the zone championships.

“Zones competition is that much tougher than areas,” Langford said. “Typically, the players who make it to zones are good all-around athletes — they are fast, fit, strong, smart and competitive.

“Our (Stettler) contingent deserved to be there and played with heart during the round-robin qualifying matches.”